Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Edwards, Lisa

Second Advisor

Burkard, Alan

Third Advisor

Knox, Sarah


Despite the rapid growth of the multiracial population there is a dearth of literature that informs the field of counseling psychology about the identity development and well-being of multiracial people. More specifically, there is little research which explores the challenge of having one’s racial identity repeatedly questioned and/or miscategorized, and how these experiences of racial miscategorization and racial incongruence may influence their identity choices and well-being. The sample consisted of 11 total participants, (women N = 9, men N = 2) who self-identified as racially ambiguous and of multiracial descent. Overall findings of the study suggest that experiences of racial miscategorization and being questioned about racial background (e.g. What are you?) had a negative impact on well-being, though many individuals considered these experiences as helpful building resilience later in life. Although racial miscategorization and being questioned about racial background was found to negatively impact well-being, it was found to have a positive impact on racial identity and development. Implications and future directions are discussed.